In keeping with a CFRI conference tradition, we brought together a panel of adults with cystic fibrosis who shared their personal stories about living with their condition. All the panelists, who varied in age and severity of disease, were eager to disclose how they care for their health and how they live their lives. The panelists included Cyndie Baker, age 50, from Louisville, Kentucky; Jeff Brown, age 25, of Humble, Texas; Steve Dowell, age 32, from Conroe, Texas; Ray Goldstein, age 52, of Kenner, Louisiana; and Joy Villasenor, age 29, of San Carlos, California.
Cyndie Baker said that only when she admitted to herself that she had CF, was she able to determine how best to fit her disease into her life. Out of this deep questioning, she established health as her first priority, and has made exercise and respiratory therapy her first priorities of the day. Jeff works tirelessly to organize a camp in the Texas area so that children and young adults with CF can look forward to fun, positive, and recreational experiences with others with CF. Steve, too, supports his friend and fellow Texan, Jeff, with the CF camp. He has also found time to earn a Bachelor's Degree and combine study and travel. Ray, diagnosed with CF as an adult, has a great wife, two grown children and is even a grandfather! He enjoys being an advocate and supporter of CF activities. The only lung transplant recipient on the panel, Joy, views the experience as the most difficult one she's ever faced, though she is joyful about the new-found freedom her transplant has given her. Every panelist spoke of both the sorrows and joys of their life, but not one of them seems to take the view that they will be passive about cystic fibrosis in their lives. What a wonderful inspiration for us all!
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